We are now learning some of the reasons why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banned the use of cryptocurrency in the Nigerian banking ecosystems. It turns out that criminals were using the digital currency to perpetuate their frauds.
According to the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, the commission has recovered about $20 million worth of cryptocurrency loot from cybercriminals: “We have seen time and time again where cybercriminals are using this avenue to get their proceeds of crime. Before it used to be through money transfer agencies like Money Gram and of course Western Union. Now they have gone E. They will defraud somebody. They will get gift cards, exchange them on the dark web, and they will use the proceeds to buy crypto, and they can get it to their e-wallet, and then, of course, they can sell and get their money.” EFCC has also created a crypto e-wallet to store the assets.
The EFCC boss expressed his support for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s ban on cryptocurrency transactions, saying that it has helped to limit the avenues through which these criminals launder their proceeds of crimes in the country.
Bawa said, “As it is today, there is nowhere in the world where cryptocurrency is being regulated. The EFCC is looking at an avenue in which people are laundering and receiving proceeds of crime and that is our worry.
As it is today, we have about 20 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency as of last statistics that I have because we also created our own e-wallet to recover cryptocurrency, you know it has never happened before but we created it. We are now recovering these proceeds of crime from that means as well.
So, we are in support of what the CBN has done because it has limited the ways in which some of these criminals can exchange their crypto and get naira for it.”
Yet, the nation does not need to ban crypto. It simply has to find a mechanism to police and regulate the use of cryptocurrency.
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